‘Max Verstappen could still make everyone look silly in the Hungarian Grand Prix’

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris and Max Verstappen, neither happy. Hungary July 2023

McLaren driver Lando Norris and Red Bull's Max Verstappen, neither happy.

Despite his pole position streak ending, Lando Norris is worried Max Verstappen could still “make everyone look silly a bit” in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Quickest in qualifying at the last five race weekends, Verstappen’s run came to an end on Saturday as he was beaten by Lewis Hamilton by 0.003s.

In a closely-contested Q3, Norris was third fastest with the McLaren driver only 0.085s off the coveted grid slot with the Briton admitting he was “frustrated” about missing out.

‘Max Verstappen might just return to his usual form in the race’

But even if he had nabbed pole position, Norris reckons, as with Silverstone when he briefly took the lead off Verstappen at the start, sooner rather than later the Red Bull driver will be in front in the grand prix.

“I think they’re both going to be quick,” the McLaren driver told Sky F1. “Mercedes obviously on long runs, and now they were just very good in the short pace as well so I expect they’re gonna be very good. Their race pace has always been pretty strong so with them it’s going to be tricky.

“And with Max as well.

“I think he just wasn’t the happiest so if he gets in a better rhythm, he might just return to his usual form and make everyone look silly a bit.

“But yeah, we’re in a good place, our long run pace is pretty strong so if I can get a couple of positions off the line.”

However, Sky Sports’ Simon Lazenby reckons the likes of pole-sitter Hamilton and Norris actually have a chance on Sunday given the short straight at the Hungaroring negates some of Red Bull’s DRS advantage.

“I suppose if there’s one thing that doesn’t play into Red Bull’s hands is that they’ve been so strong with DRS, or when DRS is open,” he said, “and here you’ve only got one straight that comes from corner one and down. So not that long straights here.

“I wonder if that will bring the others into a bit more than they were at Silverstone.”

Danica Patrick, a guest pundit on Sky, hopes he’s spot on with that.

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“That’s what we want to see, we want to see good racing. But I think that it might just go back to the way it’s been going which is Max just runs away with it,” she said.

“So I don’t think that anyone’s overly confident that all of a sudden it’s anybody’s race.

“I think that people still think of course Red Bull is still the strongest but it is a good sign that they weren’t on the pole so it’s getting exciting.”

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